'Cheap stunt' - ANC blasts Winde for barring Russian embassy from legislature events

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
ER Lombard/Gallo Images
  • The ANC in the Western Cape has slammed Premier Alan Winde's decision to bar the Russian Embassy and consulate officials from provincial legislature functions and events.
  • The party says Winde has no mandate to make pronouncements on international relations policies. 
  • Winde has strongly condemned the illegal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

The ANC in the Western Cape has lashed out at Premier Alan Winde's decision to bar the Russian Federation's embassy and consulate officials from all provincial legislature functions and events.

ANC head of communications, Sifiso Mtsweni, said the party believed the premier had "crossed the line".

He said:

Matters of international relations are managed and driven at a national level through the Department of International Relations and Co-operations (Dirco). One provincial minority government cannot override nor define itself outside of the overall governance of our country.

 Mtsweni added that President Cyril Ramaphosa had continually expressed deep concern about the escalation of hostilities between the Ukrainian and Russian governments. 

"One thing we will not accept is a racist and repugnant DA government's continued cheap attempts at federalism. They started these cheap stunts by abusing the provincial legislature in draping it in partisan colours of Ukraine, and now the premier makes pronouncements on international relations policy that he has no mandate on," he said. 

READ MORE | Western Cape bars Russian embassy from legislature events

On Wednesday, Winde said the provincial cabinet had resolved at a meeting to take a clear position to condemn the Russian Federation's actions in Ukraine and to call for a ceasefire, given the national government's "ambiguous" position.

The province also decided that legislature staff and officials would not go to any of the Russian Federation's events. This, while the South African government had taken a neutral stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola abstained during a United Nations General Assembly vote to reprimand Russia for invading Ukraine and demand that Moscow withdraw its military forces.

The action was aimed at isolating Russia at the world body diplomatically.

The DA-led Western Cape government had been vehemently outspoken about the invasion of Ukraine.

ROLLING COVERAGE | Ukraine At least three killed, including a child, in attack on Mariupol child hospital

Winde came under fire last week for his position on the war, with the opposition ANC saying the DA-led provincial government had not bothered taking a principled stance against any other wars.  

In response to Mtsweni's statements, Winde's spokesperson, Cayla Murray, reiterated that the province had strongly condemned "the illegal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation".

She said: 

They [the ANC] have made their position on the illegal invasion of Ukraine clear. They refuse to name the aggressor or admit that this violates international law. You will find no condemnation of the government of the Russian Federation in their statement.

 Murray added the Western Cape government could not remain silent in the face of a major international crisis that "threatened the very foundation of liberal international order".

"They are more outraged by our government's decision to take a principled stand in support of international law and human rights than by an illegal invasion of a sovereign state, that is seeing hundreds of civilians die. This is inexplicable," she stressed. 

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